Isabelle joined NFU Mutual straight from university in 2014 and was recently promoted to the role of Risk Pricing Manager. We caught up with her to discover what she’s learned during her time here, what she enjoys about Risk Pricing and how she’s developed her career in the business.
Hi Isabelle, could you tell us how you came to join NFU Mutual?
I joined as a graduate actuarial trainee in the Pricing team. I’d just completed my Maths degree and was looking for a role where I could utilise those analytical skills in a business context. I didn’t know a huge amount about NFU Mutual at the time, but I was attracted to the idea of training to be an actuary, working for a mutual and staying in the Midlands area.
At the time of joining, the Pricing team was relatively small but there was a lot of investment and change happening, which was exciting to be a part of. The team I joined were all hugely supportive, and it was easy to see from very early on that this was going to be a place where I could build my career.
It sounds like it was a great launchpad for your career – how has it developed since then?
I’ve spent most of my career so far in Pricing in various different roles. My area of expertise is risk pricing, but I’ve taken different opportunities along the way to improve my breadth of understanding of both pricing and the wider business. Early on, I had the chance to work on a major transformational rating project, which gave me a really good grounding in the end-to-end pricing process. I spent a year in the Financial Risk team doing capital modelling, which gave me a whole new perspective and really helped to broaden my network within the company. More recently, I’ve led the pricing for our Large Corporate customers, which has been a great opportunity to broaden my knowledge of different insurance markets.
One of my favourite roles to date was the Risk Pricing Specialist role. This was a newly created role at the time, intended to provide technical leadership and oversight for the team. I enjoyed the challenge of being able to shape the role and was able to really focus on driving technical change whilst developing my leadership skills. This set me up really well for when the Risk Pricing Manager role became available earlier in the year.
You’ve certainly been busy! How did NFU Mutual support you through all these moves?
I’ve had so many opportunities to develop through the roles that I’ve done. I've always been supported to take on new challenges and additional responsibilities, all within an environment where I can try things out and continually learn. I've always thrived outside of my comfort zone and like to push myself to see what’s possible, and here, I have felt constantly supported to take those risks. One of the biggest things I’ve learned in my career so far is that it's better to take the opportunity, rather than sit and wonder whether you should have taken it. If it doesn't work out, that's okay – you find something else.
There's also a multitude of support available through our learning and development teams. I've done multiple management and leadership courses that have helped me to hone those skills and build my confidence. I was also supported through my actuarial qualification, which has proved really beneficial in each and every role I’ve taken on.
You’ve obviously spent most of your career in Pricing – what makes it interesting?
For me, Pricing brings together three key things that I look for in a role: variety, collaboration, and impact. I’ve had the opportunity to work across all products, from Private Car to Agricultural Vehicles, Home to Large Commercial Liability, and everything in between. There are different challenges with each, which keeps the work interesting.
We work with a lot of different areas across the business, such as Actuarial, Claims, Finance and other areas of Pricing. I really enjoy working collaboratively, getting different perspectives and meeting people with different backgrounds and skillsets.
In my opinion, the last few years have really demonstrated the direct impact we have as a Pricing function. We’ve had to deal with global pandemics, major changes in regulation and unprecedented levels of inflation, each of which has required an understanding of the impact on our costs to be able to make informed decisions about how we treat our customers. I enjoy that with Pricing, we’re combining both the theoretical and the customer perspective to get the best business outcomes for our members.
Congratulations on your new Risk Pricing Manager role – what does that involve?
As a Risk Pricing team, we’re responsible for understanding and predicting the costs involved when selling insurance business. We’re focused on building and maintaining the Target Price – our best view of the cost that a customer brings when they purchase insurance with us. My role involves supporting and developing the people in the team, setting priorities and the team’s longer-term strategy, and building relationships with stakeholders across the business. One of the most rewarding parts of my last few roles has been seeing people develop and achieve their potential, so I’m excited to be able to continue that on a wider scale with the team.
What do you think makes NFU Mutual a great place to work?
For me, it's the supportive culture, the mutual values and the drive to continuously improve. The fact that we're a mutual attracts people with similar values, so it always feels like you’re working with people who want to achieve the same goal. And the fact that as a business we're prioritising things like work-life balance, wellbeing, and diversity and inclusion is really valuable. I think it makes for a great working environment where people want to do well.